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USDA Forest Service suspends public access to recreation sites

Locals will have to find something else to occupy their time rather than visiting a few of the Conecuh National Forest popular spots.

The USDA Forest Service announced Thursday that it was temporarily suspending public access to recreation sites throughout Alabama’s national forests.

The Forest Service closed Open Pond Recreation Area, including the campground and the day use area; Blue Lake Recreation Area and the Conecuh Shooting Range.

A release from the forest service said the following, “As we work though an unpredictable and rapidly changing situation, health and safety is our No. 1 priority. We are committed to continuing to support our communities and fulfill our mission as we work together to minimize the impacts and spread of COVID-19. These actions have been taken based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and to promote social distancing. Visitors are encouraged to contact the ranger district offices with additional questions, email pa_alabama@fs.fed.us or visit the forest website at www.fs.usda.gov/alabama.

The local office can be reached at 334-222-2555.

“The National Forests in Alabama continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and evaluate potential impacts and adjustments to reservations and our reservation policies through Recreation.gov,” the release said. “Reservation holders will be notified via email and/or cell phone text messages if there are any changes affecting their reservation. In the event of delayed openings of some, part, or all of the National Forests in Alabama recreation facilities to ensure safe social distancing, you will receive a full refund for your reservation. Please remember to review current recommendations from the CDC and focus on recreating safely while protecting yourself, Forest Service employees and our volunteers.”